Music of the Post-Paradigm – The New White Trash and the Age Of Authority

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 5, 2013

“This is dangerous music…in many ways. But Doug Lewis has always been a subtly subversive artist. So AGE OF AUTHORITY, the latest release by musician/producer Lewis and NEW WHITE TRASH, should not come as a surprise to lucky listeners who have enjoyed his previous political/philosophical/surrealistic musical journeys (especially the tour de force “Crudland” and “Tell The Time”). Those just getting into Lewis will discover a pleasingly quirky collection that shows calculated disregard for sonic tropes and clubland clichés. On Age Of Authority, Lewis pairs his truly insightful writing and lyrics with those of bandmates Kristen Vigard and Michael C. Ruppert to explore the moral ramifications of the disenfranchised masses struggling to survive in the new world order. It’s not exactly a message being trumpeted by mainstream media…and for good reason — in the Age Of Authority, we are ALL New White Trash.”  –  Michael Lynn-E Entertainment/True Hollywood Story. 

A discussion with Doug Lewis:

VAC: This is the second album from New White Trash, with much the same ‘cast’. How did it come about?

LEWIS: After completing DOUBLEWIDE, the first NWT album, I moved the studio from Venice (CA) to the north end of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. Kristen and Mike Ruppert had moved out of Los Angeles a year before me, Kristen to Taos, NM, and Mike to Sebastopol.  In August of 2012, Mike made the move to my place in CO, which was a year after I had established a base. Another NWT contributor, James Mathers, paid a visit with Lea Petmezas in Oct of 2012 and when Lea decided to move out here, James made the move as well.  During the spring/summer/fall of 2012, I had worked out some songs on the guitar along with some bass lines and so making an album was a great way to spend the winter of 2012/13.

VAC:  The music and vibe of Age Of Authority feels  like a continuation of Doublewide, thematically anyway.

LEWIS: The big picture hardly changes – love and war, heart and head, these are the themes of the real world and of our music, so our songs are either wry love letters or views on events torn from the news of the day.

VAC: The tagline for the New White Trash is ‘music of the post-paradigm’; do you consider this a genre?

LEWIS: It’s more of a personal brand, in that, collectively, we encourage the music to move in ‘meaningful directions’, one of which, for us, is social commentary/criticism, another is the draw of our experiences in the form of – usually and ultimately – cautionary tales. The ‘post-paradigm’ reference came out of Mike and I drawing up a raison d’être to offer insight into the NWT in name and in musical direction.

VAC: Your bandmate Mike Ruppert is fond of quoting you – “You can’t write a protest song on a full stomach.” How does that relate to your work throughout the years?

LEWIS:  The music of the New White Trash is the outcome of a shared and outspoken sensibility between Kristen, Mike, myself and others.  We are all on the same side of the cultural fence, so to speak. And we share an appreciation for the process and the sacrifice it takes to make an art project and create a body of work like an album. Also, we’ve all been doing this a while and in our various different way – Mike with his activism, Kristen has been writing, recording and performing music her entire life, and me, Age of Authority is my 22nd album as a musician/producer.  I’ve only ever made music with a cultural lean and a political pov. And I’ve only ever made music with those mining the same ground. Anything else, at this late stage of the game, feels pointless.

VAC: Over the course of making all this music, all these songs spread out over twenty-two albums, how has the process on songwriting  changed for you, personally speaking.

LEWIS: For me, the most profound change to the process happened in 1995 when I amputated the ring finger on my left hand. My guitar playing, post the loss of that finger, continues to evolve in ways of physical dexterity and personal style. Chopping off a finger then expecting to resume playing the guitar is not something I would recommend as a career choice, but for me, over time, I have no regrets. Otherwise, playing guitar, writing melodies and lyrics, crafting a song is a task like any other; you commit to the effort and embrace the experience of tuning in, musically and creatively speaking.  It’s about inhabiting a world and also enjoying the creative process as a form of meditation/work.  Over the years I have become particularly fond of treating the recording process as a community event, open door/open room style.

VAC: Being a guitar player with an amputated finger places you in an exclusive club…

LEWIS: Like I said, not something I would recommend.

VAC: What next for you and the New White Trash?

LEWIS: Looking forward to creating the third of the NWT trilogy, and hope to begin recording by mid-November (2013), although I’ve just received word that my 91 year old mother, who lives in San Francisco, needs some care, so I’m headed there now.  We’ll see.

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Doug Lewis

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority

Age Of Authority New White Trash

Age Of Authority
New White Trash

NWT logo sticker grey


AGE OF AUTHORITY – The New White Trash and ‘Music of the Post-Paradigm’, Volume II

Rough mixes of selected songs from AGE OF AUTHORITY have been playing for the past eight weeks on the LIFEBOAT HOUR, a weekly one-hour radio show hosted by MICHAEL C. RUPPERT on the Progressive Radio Network.  Ruppert, former cop turned whistleblower, author of Crossing The Rubicon who was also featured in the documentary, Collapse, calls his show, “a nightclub at the end of the world”. The NEW WHITE TRASH is in heavy rotation, and for good reason.  Ruppert, along with Venice, CA music producer and Venice Arts Club host Doug E. Lewis, formed the NWT in 2009, soon after they met over dogs at a local Venice dog park. According to Ruppert, “our dogs bonded and so did we”. Meeting Lewis allowed Ruppert to return to his roots as a singer and fulfill his dream of making music.

The result of their collaboration was released January 11, 2011. Recorded at VENICE ARTS CLUB, the album DOUBLEWIDE, a 37 song 2 CD set features a host of Venice locals including multi-instrumentalist and musical activist Wade DeVoid, former Broadway and Soap star, Kristen Vigard, artist and Warhol protege James Mathers, drummer/programmer Andy Kravitz, guitarist Michael Jost, former Shadowfax bass player Phil Maggini, among others.

Next up for the NWT is AGE OF AUTHORITY, due out July 7, 2013. Recorded over the 2012-13 winter at Lewis’ new facility – RED CLOUD RANCH AND RECORDING STUDIO – located in Moffat, CO, at the base of the Sangre De Cristo range in Southern Colorado, Age Of Authority is 18 new compositions from a this time smaller ensemble of players, including Ruppert, Lewis, DeVoid, Mathers, Vigard and with bass guitar contributions from former Frank Zappa bass player, Arthur Barrow.

Says Lewis, “Out here in Southern Colorado though we’re pretty much on the lone prairie, our goal was to make music in a ‘Venice Arts Club’ kind of way, meaning to involve the locals, to find whomever was into making  music and had a desire to sing or play to come on down and step up to the mic. So we found some amazing talent in the town of Crestone, located about twenty miles from my place…just down the road.  Turns out Lea Petmezas, who we met through James Mathers, is a gifted singer, as is Jessica Holopeter.  We enlisted JeseRe Pulver on flute and also ‘Diamond’ Dave Steele, who contributed some acoustic guitar tracks.”

Kristen Vigard, who  now calls Taos, NM, home and has been making music with Lewis for twenty years, spent the better part of the three month recording process driving back and forth from Taos through sometimes wicked winter weather, explains that, “…it was totally worth it.  Anytime I have an opportunity to record with Dougie, I’ll take it.  We’ve been doing this a long time together, him and I. He knows how to make a record and have fun doing it.”

Ruppert agrees, and adds, “making this album was endearing but also enduring because, unlike being in Venice at the VAC with the back doors open and the fire pit flaming and lots of people milling and chilling, out at Red Cloud in Colorado we had a much more isolated and harsh environment – extreme cold made it difficult to remain outside for longer than a few minutes, so it was the group of us spending most of our time inside focused on the tunes. But what a great process it is to work on songs, writing lyrics and rehearsing parts…I love it!”

As a theme, Age Of Authority is a coherent followup to Doublewide. Lewis and Ruppert established early on, by way of manifesto, a musical activism built on social commentary combined with equal part exploration of heart, told primarily through a series of cautionary tales…love, loss, joy, sorrow.

Pre-release copies of Age Of Authority are available for review to music bloggers and music zines. Please contact: BillyBollocks@mac.com

Thanks for tuning in.

NWT Age of A Cover

NEW WHITE TRASH – Age Of Authority

MIchael C. Ruppert and Doug E. Lewis

MIchael C. Ruppert and Doug E. Lewis

Music producer Doug E. Lewis

Music producer Doug E. Lewis

Michael C. Ruppert still from the film, Collapse

KV smile

Kristen Vigard

James Mathers

James Mathers

Doug E. Lewis

Doug E. Lewis

Lea P

Colorado artist Lea Petmezas

Age Of Authority - Long Cold Winter

Age Of Authority – Long Cold Winter

Age Of Authority - Dirty Love

Age Of Authority – Dirty LoveAge Of Authority - Heart On My Sleeve

Age Of Authority – Heart On My Sleeve
Age Of Authority - Foreign Soldiers

Age Of Authority – Foreign Soldiers

NWT logo sticker


‘House Of The Rising Sun’ Revisited – ‘New Orleans’ by the Fell Music Project.

A version of HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, titled NEW ORLEANS, by the FELL MUSIC PROJECT, produced by Frank Zappa alumni Arthur Barrow at Lotek Studios in Venice, CA.

 

 

VAC GRAPHIC BUTTON


DANCING WITH CANCER (part 2) – “You Must Do The Thing You Cannot Do”

As described in the ABOUT section of this blog, in 2006 I was confronted with what felt like, at the time, insurmountable odds relative to my survival. Cancer (Cancy Wancy) had again come-a-calling and brought with it a diagnosis similar to the one received back in 2003 – 6 months,  max. (Dancing With Cancer, Part 1 is here).

Some things you write down, a word, a clue, a quote, a statement, and like a raft on a sea you cling to those words, that idea, in much the same way a shipwrecked sailor clings to a point of light on a darkened horizon, as a way forward and a direction home through the fog of long night. I remember always a conversation I had thirty years ago with my friend, the jewelry designer, Esmeralda Gordon.  We were chatting about one thing or another, philosophically speaking, when Ez said to me, “you know, Mr. Dougie, it’s not about survival, it’s about development.  Another friend, Mark Bautzer, chimed in, “that’s right, baby, it’s all about evolution.”

This thought, this idea of survival vs development, or evolution, has served me in such a way as to provide distinction and clarification through times of personal trouble and uncertainty. It has allowed me to move forward into unguarded territory and to surrender myself to the situation at hand, to commit to the effort and embrace the experience of developing an expanded set of tools, a way of thinking, a path of proceeding past the edge of the darkness and beyond the seen into a realm of accepting what unknown lies ahead.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

FOUR, the final album of the FELL MUSIC PROJECT,  is a diary of my second turn on the dance floor with Cancy Wancy.  The final song on FOUR, titled XYZ, relates directly to the above enlightened quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. For me, issues of  survival and development are related not only to an acceptance of my personal situation but to meaningful aspects of personal growth. I would not wish my journey on anyone, nor would I trade it for anything.  Living and dying several times in this one lifetime has provided a unique and extrasensory perspective. Thanks for tuning in.

Doug Lewis
041412

FELL MUSIC – XYZ

XYZ

Been running on the high
Temperature side
Breaking out in wet chills and hot sweats
Skin burns silver, red – too hot to touch
Doctor comes in, light goes down says
You may have a year – What was that sound

When the night falls
You just have to look it in the eye
Like you’re staring down the barrel of a gun
Staring at the sun
And it’s buring you away

Headed through a nigh turn
Driving home, I’m alone and thinking
Trails of taillights snake and burn
Some freeway flashers blinking
Everybody lies – it’s true
But when there’s no one left to lie to
No one left to fool, no one left but you

What’s that sound
When the night falls 

You just have to take it for a ride
Down the center of the other side
Down the center of the middle
And it’s blowing you away

I need someone warm to stay with me
With a kind heart, the gentle touch of someone sweet
I’m alright, I know where the light is
I know the cost, I won’t get lost
I need someone warm to stay with me

What was that sound
You just have to make another start
Somewhere from the center of your heart
Like you’re staring down the barrel of a gun
And it’s blowing you away

DOUG LEWIS

FELL MUSIC


CRUDLAND – Jamie Cohen Art and Fixture

CRUDLAND is a manifesto booklet created by Venice CA artist  JAMIE COHEN (1953-2008). In a series of stark collages, Cohen tells the story of a world gone mad with signage, branding, innuendo and immersion into a culture of advertising and excess.  The Crudland manifesto could be understood as Cohen’s ground of being in that all his later work in sculpture, painting, drawing, writing and song could be traced back to Crudland. The theme of Crudland also served as inspiration for the first release from the FELL MUSIC project, appropriately titled, Crudland.  In 1997, Cohen and Fell Music founder Doug Lewis collaborated with L.A. photographer Patricia De La Rosa on a series of photography portraits using the original Cohen sculpture series as the basis for what would become album art for the Fell Music/Crudland project. It is possible that the original Crudland manifesto booklet still exists.  What we do have are the original images taken by De La Rossa of the Jamie Cohen sculpture series known as Crudland.

JAMIE COHEN – Ball with Hat

JAMIE COHEN – Clown

JAMIE COHEN – Bulleted Heart

JAMIE COHEN – Finger This

JAMIE COHEN – Under Lock and Key

JAMIE COHEN – Dogscape

JAMIE COHEN – Colossus of Crudland

JAMIE COHEN – Crudland Man

JAMIE COHEN

DOUG LEWIS, JAMIE COHEN

FELL MUSIC COLLECTION


AMERICAN LITE – Music of the Post-Paradigm

From FELL MUSIC, Volume One. Recorded at Lotek Studios, Venice CA. The saga of AMERICAN LITE is perfectly illustrated by this piece of wall-art.  Scroll down for video.

AMERICAN LITE

Ready or not, here we go
On demand, the future’s here
On the money, we’re right on track
Are you ready for years of fear

God, Country, War, Money
Burn down the barn to kill off the rat
Accident, incident, another loose coincidence
Throw out the baby to save the bath

Like it or not, all aboard
Men in suits meet the sailor’s whore
There’s a lizard with a slithering tongue
His friend the snake is from the uppermost rung

They’re salivating, waiting in line
For their turn with the whore divine
Torch burning bright, she pays the rent
The blinds are drawn for money well spent

Good news, it’s fair to say
Future’s here where the road gives way
In the fog a sign illuminates
Red light flashing in the night

Return your seatback to the upright position
Fasten your belt for the head on collision
Go ahead and scream but please don’t make a sound
This Friday fish dinner looks like bloody ground round

Grab some bread and run for cover cries a warning
Could be a nasty change coming like a hurricane
Captain and the First Mate staring out across the wake
Of an angry sea
Passengers are getting worried, looking out beyond the break
Not sure what they see

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

FELL MUSIC – American Lite

FELL MUSIC COLLECTION
 

WAR CREEP – Fell Music

WAR CREEP, from FELL MUSIC, volume 2  features the Venice Children’s Choir. Recorded 2002, Venice CA.

There’s a high noon hanging
Cop in a frenzy to get his first kill
Where the two worlds meet
Cop shoots an innocent boy then a go-go-girl
Inside the War Zone
TV’s on – Guns are blaring
On every channel – violence glaring
Lines are drawn – Eternal war
In the name of God – signed in blood

Wags his gun
Kid turns to run
All is war through eyes of war
For the man in the uniform
From Baghdad to Marathon
A noise on the radio
That little voice in the back of your head
Don’t take your eye off the man in the uniform
Don’t take your gaze off the man…

PARTY LINE – Jamie Cohen collage

FELL MUSIC – related content